“Hollo, Signor Excellency! and how does your partner please you? Come and join our feast, loiterers; one dances more merrily after wine.”
Down goes the round sun; up comes the autumn moon. Tara, tara, rarara, rarara, tarara-ra! Dancing again; is it a dance, or some movement gayer, noisier, wilder still? How they glance and gleam through the night shadows, those flitting forms! What confusion!—what order! Ha, that is the Tarantula dance; Maestro Paolo foots it bravely! Diavolo, what fury! the Tarantula has stung them all. Dance or die; it is fury,—the Corybantes, the Maenads, the—Ho, ho! more wine! the Sabbat of the Witches at Benevento is a joke to this! From cloud to cloud wanders the moon,—now shining, now lost. Dimness while the maiden blushes; light when the maiden smiles.
“Fillide, thou art an enchantress!”
“Buona notte, Excellency; you will see me again!”
“Ah, young man,” said an old, decrepit, hollow-eyed octogenarian, leaning on his staff, “make the best of your youth. I, too, once had a Fillide! I was handsomer than you then! Alas! if we could be always young!”
“Always young!” Glyndon started, as he turned his gaze from the fresh, fair, rosy face of the girl, and saw the eyes dropping rheum, the yellow wrinkled skin, the tottering frame of the old man.
“Ha, ha!” said the decrepit creature, hobbling near to him, and with a malicious laugh. “Yet I, too, was young once! Give me a baioccho for a glass of aqua vitae!”
Tara, rara, ra-rara, tara, rara-ra! There dances Youth! Wrap thy rags round thee, and totter off, Old Age!
Whilest Calidore does
follow that faire mayd,
Unmindful of his vow and high beheast
Which by the Faerie Queene was on him layd.
—Spenser, “Faerie Queene,” cant. x. s. 1.